McDonald’s To End Test Run Of AI-Powered Drive Thru – One America News Network

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OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:14 PM – Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A number of McDonald’s drive-thrus have been testing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies since 2021. However, on Monday, the fast-food restaurant announced that it had chosen to terminate its global relationship with IBM (International Business Machines Corporation).


Yet, that does not mean you will not come across a “chatbot” the next time you drive over to a McDonald’s location to order chicken nuggets or fries. Although McDonald’s current automated order taker test is coming to an end, the company hinted that it was not completely ruling out future AI drive-thru ambitions, citing “an opportunity to explore voice ordering solutions more broadly.”

“Our work with IBM has given us the confidence that a voice ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurants’ future,” McDonald’s said in a statement.

AI-powered drive-thrus have had varying degrees of success. For instance, in recent years, McDonald’s automated order taker powered by IBM has been the subject of many complaints, with a slew of customers turning to social media to record the chatbot misinterpreting their requests.

Among other issues affecting order accuracy, unidentified sources familiar with the technology told CNBC that it has had trouble understanding various thick accents and dialects.

Regarding the accuracy of the automated order taker, McDonald’s declined to comment.

When asked about specifics of potential difficulties, IBM did not immediately respond, but in an initial statement, the company still claimed that “this technology is proven to have some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions.”

The tech company, based in Armonk, New York, added that it is “in discussions and pilots” right now with a number of other quick-serve restaurant clients who are considering using the automated order taker.

The automated order system in McDonald’s establishments will be turned off in order to further test it “no later than July 26, 2024,” according to a memo acquired by trade publications Restaurant Business and CNBC last week.

IBM and McDonald’s insisted that although their AI drive-thru collaboration was coming to an end, they would still collaborate on other initiatives.

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Brooke Mallory
Author: Brooke Mallory

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